Optical laser-based technologies exhibit a major key technology of the 21st century. Extension of the range of scientific and commercial laser applications requires a constant expansion of the accessible regimes of laser operation. Concepts from nonlinear optics (e.g. frequency conversion) provide all means to achieve this goal. This holds in particular true for nonlinear optical processes, driven with ultra-fast lasers. However, nonlinear optics typically suffer from efficiencies well below unity, e.g. if high-order processes are involved or if the driving laser pulse intensities must be limited below damage thresholds (e.g. in nonlinear microscopy of living cells, or nonlinear spectroscopy of combustion processes in engines). Thus, we require methods to enhance nonlinear optical processes. The field of “coherent control” provides techniques to manipulate laser-matter interactions. The basic idea is to use appropriately designed light-matter interactions to steer quantum systems towards a desired outcome, e.g. to support nonlinear optical processes.
The goal of HICONO is to combine the concepts of coherent control with high-intensity nonlinear-optical interactions. The particular aim is to enhance the efficiency of nonlinear optical processes and extend the range of high-intensity laser applications. HICONO will develop new coherent control strategies matched to high-intensity nonlinear optics. This will push high-order frequency conversion towards larger output yield, enable novel applications in high-resolution spectroscopy and microscopy, and drive novel technologies for ultra-short pulse generation and characterization. The close cooperation of HICONO with industry participants will lead to commercially relevant devices.
In terms of training, HICONO aims at the development of young researchers with appropriate skills to exploit the concepts of high-intensity laser technologies, laser-based control, and applied nonlinear optics. To achieve the goal, HICONO provides a unique, very broad and technology-oriented early-stage training program with strong exposure of the fellows to industry environment.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Halfmann
Institut für Angewandte Physik
Fachbereich 05 - Physik
Technische Universität Darmstadt
+49 6151 16-20740
+49 6151 16-20741 (Sekretariat)
+49 6151 16-20327